Final venues have been approved for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Following outcry from environmentalists over the original proposal for a gigantic winter-sports complex adjacent to a national park, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reared his head and suggested changes to mitigate eco-impact. Organizers have relocated some venues, as well as cutting a planned inter-venue light-rail system from two tracks to one and a highway from four lanes to three. As organizers make plans to build 250 facilities, mostly from scratch, Sochi 2014 President Dmitry Chernyshenko gives the ambitious assurance that they’re “committed to an environmental policy that will not only protect, but also enhance the overall environment of the region.” Sochi, by the by, is just 12 miles from Abkhazia, a former territory of Georgia. Notes Olympic affairs expert Eric Morse, “It is possible that [the Russia-Georgia conflict] will have no effect at all, but it’s never good when an Olympics is situated on a geopolitical faultline.”
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